Sanford Police Chief Fired For Mishandling Trayvon Martin Case
Police Chief Bill Lee was fired by Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte, who cited "escalating divisiveness" as a reason for the move. In a statement issued Wednesday night, Bonaparte hinted the city had lost faith in its highest law enforcement official.
“The police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community,” Bonaparte said in the statement. “We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support.”
Lee declined to arrest Zimmerman, arguing that the shooting was covered by Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, despite initial findings by investigators that Martin was not involved in any illegal activity and Zimmerman could have avoided the situation. A special prosecuter has since charged Zimmerman in the shooting.
Lee has been on paid leave since March 22. He will recieve a severance package of three months' pay plus any earned time off. Sanford has already begun a nation-wide search for a replacement, according to Bonaparte.
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